...and then

Monday, 24 January 2011

Oh, brother! Sister concerns

So, call me masochistic but I am ready for a third baby. Bio-rhythmically, that is. In every other way, this is complete insanity. I don’t have enough money right now to make my family a single-income one, I don’t have manpower to look after kids in case I do have a baby and go back to work, and I definitely don’t have the kindness to have another year of sleeplessness or to breastfeed every two hours. But I am totally ready to be pregnant.

Apart from the process of getting there being rather fun, being pregnant is one of the best things I’ve done. I’ve looked great, felt great, and apart from being utterly and totally humiliated during my C-sections by “brothers” seeing every bit of me waist below, the end results were fantastic.

Maybe I’ll have a third child a few years from now. Maybe I’ll have one biologically or maybe I’ll adopt. Or maybe I just know too many people now who are pregnant. All this broodiness got me thinking about many things. You know, it really saddens me to see how many of my friends want just one baby.

Before I launch into a full-fledged lecture, let me give you a little background. I was never crazy about babies. I see 25 years olds, even 30 years olds go gaga over little babies and I keep thinking I must have been odd because I really didn’t do that to every little kid that went by. I looked at cute kids, and said they were cute and I moved on. I even had uncharitable thoughts that some ‘chubby’ babies looked like pigs and once, even as I held a really tiny baby, remember thinking, how easy it would be to snap such delicate bones. What? I didn’t do it! I just thought it.

I love kids a little more now but am still not crazy about them as some women I know are. Don’t get me wrong. I think they’re fantastic. And watching my kids grow and learn and notice every little thing in this world around them has me in awe. I adore their smiles in general, and my kids’ in particular, but I am still not nuts about them. I prefer having conversation with them to coochie cooing with them. I prefer letting them be than to overly make them.

And for someone like that to want baby number three is surprising, even to me. So when I say it saddens me that more and more people are opting for one-child families, I honestly don’t know where it’s coming from. But I do know that the sadness is genuine. Some time ago, when I was in India and thinking about this, I saw with distress that The Hindu had done a piece on it just as I was about to write a post. But having read it, I realised it was just a defensive piece rather than one with any reasoning behind it. (Not that mine is going to have scientific fact or any such evolved things.)

So I decided to do this post anyway. I honestly believe kids with sibling are better kids. Call me a generalising so and so – all though that is not what I am doing -- but that has been my experience. I find kids with siblings are more open to things in general, less eager to please, are more likely to grow up not having a rather large sense of entitlement and overall have a more healthy understanding of love.

I know some fantastic people who were single kids. But we’ve never been friends for long. Something about them, even before I know they don’t have siblings, rubs me up the wrong way. Maybe it’s that they forgot to be children after a point because they hung out a lot with their parents. Maybe it’s just that the parents annoy me with their, “We want to concentrate all our love on our first and only baby.” Maybe it is the fact that invariably I find a little awkwardness, a certain defensiveness, when I speak to a person who grew up a single child. Maybe it’s all in my head. But this is also my blog.

Of course, the above could be said of people with siblings too and we all know having a sibling can do nothing to reduce the irritant quotient of some people but the intrinsic difference is that you may be able to tell a kid with a sibling that he’s a snotty little piece of nothing and get only a punch in return. But telling a single kid that might make you responsible for him turning out to be a psychopath.

But jokes apart, and people who grew up single, excuse me, I love you all equally but you guys just don’t cut like we sister-brother types do – look around you and tell me. The happier, more well-adjusted, less fake ones are almost always those with a sister or a brother they can absolutely not stand but love.

My advice? The population can take a walk*. Go make babies.

*One of the first things I worried about when I knew I was surprise-pregnant with my second kid was the population. “Crap! I am damaging my country by having more kids than it can sustain. I am moving to Australia.”

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Blogger The Coffee Cup said...

Hey S, Baby number three...way to go girl!!
About the post: I, for one, totally agree to the 'single child sucks' concept. I am a single child, and there hasn't (in all honesty) been any moment when I thought blessed to not have siblings. I always longed for a sibling (an older brother in particular..to which my mom always gave this "very helpless" smile). But I am rather proud that I haven't turned greedy, self-centred or overly sensitive or demanding. It's worked in the reverse for me...am a total friends' person, would go all out to help them, share things with them, etc..etc.. I turned an extrovert than a quiet, shy, all-into-myself child. I am so glad about it coz it's given me wonderful friends.
I really think people shud have more kids (if u can afford them...financially & emotionally). To more lovely little kids... :)

2:43 pm  
Blogger S said...

Many a times I have caught myself thinking whether I want one child. Though I always believed that two children makes for 'healthy' relationships, WHERE IS THE TIME???

Your post just rekindled my thoughts.. May be I should just pray that I have twins :) :)

6:25 pm  
Blogger Aanchal said...

Oh, I agree, and how!
Can't imagine growing up without my lil' brother.
So many secrets, thoughts, dreams shared with him, so many lyrics of songs ratt-oed so we could sing together, so many late night giggling fits after Mom had tucked us in, so much stuff that I could've shared with no one else, and neither could he.
Oh yeah - I'm definitely having two kids. Wouldn't deprive my kid of all this fun, and of the best friend they can ever hope for. :)

11:08 pm  
Blogger Suburban said...

Do NOT do this. Really. Ignore your ovaries, they do not have your own best interests at heart.

with undying Love,
Your friend,


8:10 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Babies, babies.... taking up a lot of my mind-space too these day; like you said, it's probably bumping into a lot of pregnant people. No pun intended.
My husband's an only child and mean me always attributed his faults to the only-child syndrome. I suppose it's worse, esp in India, when you are the only male child... but generally, he's an okay guy. Just that in the first two years of marriage, he had quite a bit of learning to do in terms of loving and sharing with my over-enthusiastic and way-too-much-into-bonding happy, big extended family. It's taken him time but he's found his spot now and fit in happily.
So I totally agree with you about only-child families!
And on a personal note, I'd say do go ahead and have another one! :)

8:42 am  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

The Coffee Cup : Hahaha. No baby #3 yet. It's just a thought :) And thank you for telling us how it was to be an only child. I am not saying one-child-only concept sucks. It's perfectly suited for many things, but it just makes me sad to think of fewer and fewer young people.

S : The time? Then I think two children for you is already your choice :) Time is the least of the things that you will have in limited resources if you go for two kids :) And we'll keep our fingers crossed for your twins :)

Aanchal : YOu've said the exact things I have to say about having a sibling and like you, a younger brother, especially the giggling fits -- they'd never stop! Welcome to the blog, Aanchal :) ANd I went to yours. Loved the theme.

Suburban : Thank you my lovely voice of Sanity. It is true -- my ovaries do now have my best interests at heart. Next time I feel all broody I'll call for help. Hugggggssss!

SunnySmile : Hey you! See, that's the thing -- I know loads of adults who were single children and I am always surprised to know they have no siblings. I know it's a bias and everything but still. And it's lovely to hear about your husband -- both that your large, well-bonded family was a shock to him and that he's found his place :)

2:33 pm  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

TheFlatteredFlyingFish: R, just delete that comment and repost it without my name, no? That's something I am not touching upon at all because no one has a choice in it.

5:11 pm  
Blogger Blewyn said...

If everyone has 3 babies, then with each generation the population increases by 1.5 times. Do you think your country can support 1.5 times its current number ? Do you think that increasing the population by 1.5 would be a good thing for the human race, in terms of living standards and general stability ?

2:36 am  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

Blewyn: Are you serious? No, I don't think everyone should have three babies naturally. Adoption is a wonderful option to have a bigger family. And no I don't think we should increase the population 1.5 times its current number. All I am saying is single-child families need to rethink, just a bit.

11:31 am  
Blogger The Visitor said...

... are more likely to grow up not having a rather large sense of entitlement ...
who said so? I know better. :|

Single child, may not be the ideal, but...
Three! No, Don't do it TRQ. Two is just fine.

3:30 pm  
Blogger Blewyn said...

RQ: I'm very serious. While I agree with your points about single children, I am referring to your stated aim of having 3 kids. If they follow your example, you will have NINE grandchildren !

We read reports in the media every single day about the denudation of the rainforest, global warming, the impending food/water crisis. The human race needs to manage its numbers ! Rapid uncontrolled expansion will only lead to poverty, corruption, conflict and strife.

RE single kids - I think they can still learn to share etc if they are raised as part of a group of kids - the friends on their street, for example - especially if they eat as a group.

9:36 am  
Blogger Sandhya Menon said...

The Visitor: This was mostly in jest and giving vent to my hormones, that's all. I honestly am not that much of a mother :)

Blewyn: I don't say anywhere it is my aim to have three kids and that my three kids should have three each of their own. Like I said, I'd be happy if parents adopted all three. I am not in a bid to increase population the world over, just in case you misunderstood :) And I doubt I'll have a third child biologically; I appreciate my post-baby weightloss too much to do that :)

2:09 pm  
Blogger Shalini George said...

Loved this post. Honest with a lot of soul. nothing kore irritating than having people say having one kid means better things for your child. What a lot of crap. The best you could probably give your child are siblings. I know that for sure. Can't imagine having a college degree in USA instead of any one of my brother or sister.

12:20 pm  
Anonymous Athira said...

Hmm. That's a very sweeping generalization, no? In India, even if you're an only child, there are usually plenty of cousins around. I'm an "only child" myself and I have never once felt a lack of a sibling. But then, maybe it's because I had a dog. We played, got into trouble, got caught and were smacked together. I wouldn't have given him up for any number of brothers and sisters!

8:21 am  
Blogger Nandini Krishnan said...

I agree with just about every line here. I've got 2 brothers, so I think every kid should have at least 2 siblings. I feel bad for two-child families. I mean, who gangs up against whom?! :-)

11:05 pm  
Blogger Pari said...

Stumbled on this one...know this is an old post, but I couldn't agree more on the 'kids with a sibling' policy. I always try to talk to my friends about having ATLEAST 2 kids...and use a list of reasons for saying so. Oh, how will the kid ever know the fun of hitting your sibling and then making it up with a chocolate :)

1:56 pm  

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